HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:81
Back in 2006 Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code” blasted onto the scene with all sorts of fanfare and angry mobs. Christians and Catholics were angry that it portrayed the church in a bad light, fans of the book were angry that it wasn’t as good as the novel, and some people were just angry that it wasn’t that good of a movie (I have to admit that it’s a horribly dated film and one that’s almost a guilty pleasure). A few years later “Angels and Demons” came out, and while it was a much more entertaining and less serious work than “The Da Vinci Code”, most post shunned the film (I personally find it to be the best of the three, but that’s just me). Now, 7 years after “Angels and Demons” Ron Howard is trying a third time to bring Dan Brown’s hokey mysteries to life with the help of Tom Hanks yet again. This time it’s the creakiest and least logical of all three films, but it also is the least “religion” oriented of the three as well. Instead of a film about conspiracy theories and religious sects trying to keep order in a modern day, it’s about a guy who is kind of nuts and wants to blow up the world.
You’d think that this would act as an entertaining premise, but sadly it just ends up being a rather run of the mill plot line mired down by the increasing labyrinth that is a Dan Brown mystery. We’re put right into the heart of the action, with cryptologist Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) waking up in an Italian hospital without any sort of memory. Supposedly he’s suffered a head trauma and can’t seem to remember anything for the last 48 hours. When an assassin strikes at the hospital, Langdon is force to go on the run with only the aid of the well-meaning (and also extremely well versed in Dante’s inferno mythology) Italian doctor, Sienna, who had been taking care of him in his coma (played by a gorgeous Felicity Jones). On his trail is a cadre of people, who want whatever is locked inside the professor’s head, the least of them being the afore mentioned assassin. W.H.O. agents and double agents compete for his head, while a mysterious organization is also rabidly interested in what the good professor knows.
It seems that a wealthy billionaire has decided that the world is just TOO populated. Soon we’ll be at the breaking point and the overpopulation will drive us extinct. Not exactly an unknown theory, right? Well, this billionaire (played by a wonderfully hammy Ben Foster) has created a super virus that, much like the black plague, will wipe out large portions of the world’s population and slow the coming apocalypse for thousands of years. So, that leaves Professor Langdon and Sienna struggling to piece together just what has happened to the good doctor, and WHERE the virus is before it can be unleashed on the world (and supposedly reach all 4 corners within a few days). Simple, right?
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88874[/img]I’m intentionally keeping my description of the plot for “Inferno” rather vague and generalized. The reason for that is because much of the entertainment for the movie is based upon figuring things out and watching them unfold. With the introduction of Robert Langdon’s insomnia, we have to piece things together slowly, and nothing that we see can be trusted as people, events and places are deemed misleading due to the professor’s faulty memory. It’s kind of like watching the old “untrustworthy witness” scenario as whatever is spoken (or in this case shown) can’t be trusted due to faulty memory. While you won’t be angry while watching “Inferno”, you will be a bit annoyed. Not because it paints any one religions in a bad light (actually, the only mention of religions is the Dante’s Inferno references, and that’s only because our looney bin billionaire fashioned his virus after reading the book and calling it the “inferno virus”), but rather because it’s so confusing and twisted in the way the movie tells its story. The twists, turns and leaps in logics are less likely to incite awe inspiring gasps (not the series strong point), but rather eye rolling and chuckles at some of the serious stretches used to get to the inevitable conclusion.
“Inferno” is the most action oriented of the three films, and Ron Howard has also closed the scope. We’re going to multiple countries for sure, but everything feels so confined, and without the giant overarching plot of the church we don’t have access to nearly as many artifacts and ancient structures as we have in the last 2 entries of the franchise. Dialog is stilted and weak, with Felicity Jones and Irrfan Khan bearing the brunt of the good acting. Hanks is pretty much dozing his way through the film, and really doesn’t seem to be putting much energy into the character of Langdon (though he was never a wildly exuberant character to begin with). Sadly there’s only about 5 minutes of Ben Foster scattered throughout the film, but he is such a dynamic and enthralling persona that you really wish HE had been there in place of Felicity Jones for the final act.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88882[/img]I was a little bit nervous when I saw that “Inferno” was taken from another 2K master. The last batch of 4K UHD discs that came from a 2K master have not shown wild improvements from their 1080p counterparts, but “Inferno” is one of the better looking 2K to 4K upscalings that I’ve seen to date. Take everything that was good about the 1080p Blu-ray and just make it “better”. Colors are richer and deeper with the inclusion of HDR (look at the blood red at the beginning with Langdon’s hallucination), and the textures are more intimate and visible to the naked eye. Watch the stone walls underground when Sienna and professor Langdon are trying to escape the museum when the W.H.O. comes looking for them. The stone seems to gain more pitting, and a much more diverse look in the textures. Blacks are deep and inky, with no signs of major crush and the image itself is about as artifact free as you could expect. Definitely a worthy upgrade from the standard Blu-ray, that’s for sure.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88890[/img]Sony has saved the best for last, and in this case, they were tucking away a nice little Dolby Atmos track as an upgrade over the Blu-rays 5.1 DTS-HD MA, and the Atmos mix is well worth the upgrade. The 5.1 mix was already an amazing sounding track, but the Atmos mixing of and inclusion of more channels make it that much more immersive and exciting. The obvious inclusion of the overheads adds to that immersion level with all sorts of ambient noises that shift directions at queue. One of the most obvious and impressive ones happens when Langdon experiences his hallucinations and all “hell” (pun intended) breaks loose inside his own minds. The cacophony of noises gains a 360 degree sound within the Atmos mixing and the extra surround channels in the rear help in that regard as well. The same goes for the real world where the sounds of a car chase, or the hustle and bustle of Italy bleed into the differing angles of the surround channels. LFE is still tight and powerful, and the dialog is above reproach. The audio for the Blu-ray mix was near perfect, the Atmos track kicks it up just enough to BE perfect.
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Six Featurettes:
- "Ron Howard, A Director's Journal"
- "A Look at Langdon"
- "The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist"
- "This Is Sienna Brooks"
- "Inferno Around the World"
- "Visions of Hell
If you’ve enjoyed the first two of Dan Brown’s novelizations come to film, then I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed with “Inferno”. It’s very much in line with the previous two movies in entertainment value, but it does act as the weakest link in the trilogy. I actually like the movies as a sort of guilty pleasure now and again (with “Angles and Demons” being my favorite), so I had hoped that “Inferno” would show a more matured take after Ron Howard had done two test tries with the previous films, but it really is just more of the same. The audio and video for this 4K UHD Blu-ray are incredible , but the extras are a tad thin. The 4K UHD disc offers a solid increase in quality over the already impressive looking/sounding Blu-ray, making it easily the superior version out of the 2, and if you enjoyed the previous two films, then it’s definitely worth checking out. If you’re not a fan of the series, or haven’t seen the two prior films then I would definitely rent the movie first.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Dan Brown (Novel), David Koepp (Screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD Score), Czeck, French, Spanish, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, Turkish DD 5.1
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Buy Inferno On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Inferno On Blu-ray at Amazon
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